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A Reminder to Pray for the Persecuted Church

Chances are, if you have access to the internet and to Blue Letter Bible’s resources, you are not in a country or region where Jesus-loving Christians are arrested for apostasy. And you are likely not in danger of being persecuted violently for your faith.

Last week, I was reminded of how important it is to pray for the persecuted church. Said Musa, an Afghan Christian who was arrested for his faith last May, has been on my prayer list for the last several months. He was raped, abused, and prohibited from seeing his family—all because he was converted to professing Christ as his Lord and Savior. Later, I learned that Musa was set to be hanged sometime this year. Through email and social media, several Christians in the West pleaded with their government officials to lay pressure on Afghanistan for Musa’s release.

Praise be to God,  the prayers and pleas were effective, and he was finally released from prison last week. An International Christian Concern (ICC) representative from Kabul reported:

I’m so thankful to the Lord that he is free and know it was a concerted effort on the part of so many people. The Lord has allowed us to take part in this momentous event and I praise Him that it has ended with the freedom of Said Musa. Through Said’s letters, he spoke publicly to the world a powerful testimony of his faith and perseverance.”

We should praise God for this! And pray that his testimony is used to save others in Afghanistan. I think of the apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:12-13:

“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ.”

And still, Shoaib Assadullah, an Afghan Christian who was arrested for giving a Bible to a man who later reported him to authorities, remains imprisoned. According to ICC, Assadullah currently faces the same charges for apostasy that Musa was rescued from.

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, writes:

We cannot be more thrilled about Said Musa’s release. It has been encouraging to see the international community, including churches, reporters and government officials in Europe and North America, work together for the common goal of freeing Said. Many sleepless nights, prayers and tears have paid off. However, the battle has not yet been won. Shoaib Assadullah is still imprisoned in northern Afghanistan and fears the death penalty. We still have a long road ahead before we witness religious freedom in Afghanistan. We must remain vigilant and keep the public and diplomatic pressure alive by continuing to shout with one voice for Shoaib Assadullah until together, we can also celebrate his release.”

There are thousands  more stories like this. Let’s remember to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith.

The website PERSECUTION.ORG is a great place to start.